Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) is one of the most popular places to visit in the Dolomites. This crystal-clear aquamarine lake, with its dramatic mountainous backdrop, easy walking trail, and rowboats, has long been attracting visitors. Recently, it has become even more famous, since it is the filming site for an Italian TV show, Un Passo dal Cielo.
If you plan on spending a few days in the Dolomites, you may be wondering if Lago di Braies is worth it. In this guide, we answer this question, and cover what you need to know about how to visit Lago di Braies.
In 2022, there have been some major changes to how visitors can access the lake, and we cover the details later in this guide.
Where is Lago di Braies?
Lago di Braies is located in the Italian Dolomites, within the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. Here are driving distances and times from nearby destinations:
- Cortina d’Ampezzo: 46 km, 1 hour
- Selva di Val Gardena: 84 km, 2 hours
- Selva di Cadore: 74 km, 1.5 hours
- Venice: 205 km, 3 hours
How Do You Get to Lago di Braies?
The easiest way to get to Lago di Braies is to drive here. Just be aware that there are vehicle restrictions from July 10 through September 10 to reduce the amount of traffic and visitors to Pragser Tal Valley during the busy summer season. We cover this in more detail later in this guide (or skip ahead now).
Lago di Braies
Parking at Lago di Braies
There are several parking lots for Lago di Braies.
Note: These parking numbers are taken from the official website and do not correspond with the same labeling on Google Maps.
P3 is a large parking lot located close to Lago di Braies. From here it is about a 4-to-5-minute walk to the lake (this is where we parked). There is a small fee to park here.
There is a closer lot (P4) but it is my understanding that this lot is for those staying in the Lago di Braies hotel.
P2 is located about 800 meters from Lago di Braies. From here it is about a 10-minute walk to the lake.
P1 is located 5.5 km from Lago di Braies. From this lot, ride bus 439 to Lago di Braies (about 20 minutes, possible from July 10 through September 10).
You can also get to Lago di Braies using public transportation.
Bus 442 connects Lago di Braies with Toblach/Dobbiaco. Here is the timetable.
During the period of vehicle restrictions (July 10 through September 10), there is also a bus that runs from Welsberg/Monguelfo (bus 439) to Lago di Braies. Learn more here (under the Frequently Asked Section).
Lago di Braies parking lot
Parking Regulations at Lago di Braies
If you plan to visit Lago di Braies in the summer, this the most important thing to know before you go.
Due to the increased popularity of the lake, there are now parking regulations for the summer months.
In 2022, from July 10 through September 10, between 9:30 am and 4 pm, you cannot drive through the Pragser Tal Valley and park at Lago di Braies. During this time, you will have to park 5 km from the lake and use public transportation to get to the lake. You are also allowed to bike or walk through the valley to get to Lago di Braies.
You are permitted to drive to Lago di Braies between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm if you make a reservation in advance. Learn more here.
We visited Lago di Braies on July 10, the first day of the regulations. We arrived at Pragser Tal Valley at 8:45 am so we were permitted to drive and park at the lake. Later in the day, as we exited the Pragser Tal Valley around noon, officials were stopping vehicle traffic to the lake.
So, you are permitted to drive to Lago di Braies before 9:30 am and after 4:00 pm. Or, make a vehicle reservation in advance or plan on using public transportation to get to Lago di Braies.
Setting Your Expectations
Lago di Braies is one of the most popular destinations in the Dolomites. Recently, crowd control measures have been put into place during the busy summer months, in order to limit the number of people who visit this lake.
Talking to the staff at rowboat rental office, the busiest times to visit Lago di Braies is between 10 and 3 pm. During this time, do not expect a quiet, tranquil experience. Rowboats may be sold out and the trail that circles the lake will be quite busy.
We visited Lago di Braies on July 10, arriving at 8:30 am. The parking lots were filling fast but the lake still felt relatively empty. We had no issue renting a rowboat and during our visit, rowboats were available all morning, until we left around noon. However, I have heard other reports of rowboats selling out by mid-morning.
If you plan to visit Lago di Braies, I recommend that you get here as early as possible, not only to have at least an hour or two when it is less busy, but to also avoid the 9 am cutoff time to drive to the lake (summer months only).
Best Things to Do at Lago di Braies
#1 Photograph the Rowboats
If you arrive early in the morning (9 am or earlier) you can photograph the lines of rowboats lined up at the dock. These photos below were taken at 9 am.
#2 Rent a Rowboat and Explore the Lake
Rowboats can be rented by the hour at the boat dock. This is first come, first served and they cannot be reserved in advance. Midday in the summer, waits for a rowboat can be up to 1 hour.
Rental Season: Late May through October
Operating Hours: 7 am to 7 pm during the summer, reduced hours during the other months
Price: €35 for one hour, €25 for 30 minutes
We spent an hour on the lake, each taking a turn rowing the boat. It’s harder than it looks, if you haven’t done something like this before. We were all very good at just rowing in circles, despite trying our best to make a straight path. We travel with a GPS device (for hiking) and Tim had it logging our route on the lake…it’s a very funny path of circles and zig-zagging lines, since we all had a hard time rowing in a straight line.
#3 Sunrise Boat Experience
During the summer months, you can reserve a rowboat for a sunrise photo session on the lake. This can be done up to 4 days in advance. Learn more here.
#4 Visit the Chapel on the Lake
Sitting next to Lago di Braies is Cappella “Lago di Braies.” This small church is another popular photography spot at the lake.
#5 Walk the Path around Lago di Braies
Distance: 3.7 km (2.3 miles) loop
Total Ascent: 100 meters (330 feet)
Length of Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
One of the best things to do at Lago di Braies is to walk the path that circles the lake. Since it is a loop, it can be done in either direction. I don’t think one way is necessarily better than the other. We hiked the trail in a clockwise direction.
Here are photos taken from the trail:
Looking back towards the boathouse from the far end of the lake.
Trail along the far end of the lake.
#6 Hike One of the Trails That Starts at Lago di Braies
In addition to the easy path that circles the lake, several other longer, more challenging trails start at the lake and head high into the mountains.
The Alta Via hiking trail starts at Lago di Braies and ends 120 km later at Belluno. This is done as a mult-day trek.
Croda del Becco (Seekofel) is the mountain that forms the backdrop of Lago di Braies. The trail to the top of Croda del Becco starts on the far side of the lake (from the boat dock). It is a 15 km out-and-back strenuous hike that takes 6 to 8 hours.
The Hochalpenkopf Peak Trail is another challenging hike that starts at the lakes and climbs high into the mountains. This 17-km loop is a challenging hike that takes 8 hours.
#7 Photograph the Lake and Boathouse
Behind the boathouse is a hill. Look for the bench that sits on this hill. From this spot, I took this photo of the lake.
Lago di Braies boathouse
How Much Time Do You Need at Lago di Braies?
If you want to rent a rowboat and walk the loop trail, we recommend spending 3 hours at Lago di Braies. This is about how much time we spent here. We rented a rowboat first and spent about 45 minutes paddling in circles around the lake. Then we walked the trail around the lake. We left the lake right before lunch. From Lago di Braies, we drove to Lago di Dobbiaco and had lunch here (just for a change in scenery and to see more of the Dolomites).
Viewpoint along the loop trail around Lago di Braies.
More Things to Do in the Area
Lago di Dobbiaco is another beautiful lake to visit. From Lago di Braies, it is a 25-minute drive. And it bit farther away is lovely Lago di Misurina (40 minutes from Lago di Braies).
From Rifugio Auronzo (1 hour drive from Lago di Braies) you can hike the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop or hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint. Like Lago di Braies, there is limited parking at Rifugio Auronzo and midday you could have trouble getting a parking space. But it is possible to get to Rifugio Auronzo using public transportation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to visit Lago di Braies?
There is no entrance fee to visit Lago di Braies. However, you will have to pay a parking fee (the fee depends on the lot and the time of year you visit) and if you plan to rent a rowboat, that is an additional cost (€35 for one hour, €25 for 30 minutes).
Is Lago di Braies worth it?
Lago di Braies is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites and it is worth the visit. Just be aware of the restrictions for driving to Lago di Braies in the summer months. If you are a photographer or traveling as a family, this lake is well worth it. It’s also perfect for those who want to do an easy, short hike in the Dolomites, without hiking one of the longer, more challenging trails that head higher into the mountains.
Can I fly a drone at Lago di Braies?
No, drones are not allowed at Lago di Braies.
Lago di Braies from the trail that loops around the lake.
If you have any questions about how to visit Lago di Braies, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
HIKES IN THE DOLOMITES: In our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites, we cover 15 epic trails in the Dolomites. Which ones do you want to do?
DOLOMITES: We cover important things to know before you go and travel tips in our article How to Plan a Trip to the Dolomites. And for ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.
BEST OF ITALY: In our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 20 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy
ITALY ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for three different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Venice.
Read all of our articles about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide.
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